Obamacare Employer Mandate Delayed Until 2015

On a slow news day, a major concession on Obamacare

health-costs-money-stethoscope

Late yesterday, the Obama Administration announced that it was delaying the deadline by which employers must certify that they are providing the required level of health care coverage to their employees by a year:

WASHINGTON — In a significant setback for President Obama’s signature domestic initiative, the administration on Tuesday abruptly announced a one-year delay, until 2015, in his health care law’s mandate that larger employers provide coverage for their workers or pay penalties. The decision postpones the effective date beyond next year’s midterm elections.

Employer groups welcomed the news of the concession, which followed complaints from businesses and was posted late in the day on the White House and Treasury Web sites while the president was flying home from Africa. Republicans’ gleeful reactions made clear that they would not cease to make repeal of Obamacare a campaign issue for the third straight election cycle.

While the postponement technically does not affect other central provisions of the law — in particular those establishing health insurance marketplaces in the states, known as exchanges, where uninsured Americans can shop for policies — it threatens to throw into disarray the administration’s effort to put those provisions into effect by Jan. 1.

“I am utterly astounded,” said Sara Rosenbaum, a professor of health law and policy at George Washington University and an advocate of the law. “It boggles the mind. This step could significantly reduce the number of uninsured people who will gain coverage in 2014.”

At the White House, Tara McGuinness, a senior adviser on the law, disputed that.

“Nothing in the new guidance regarding employer reporting and responsibility will limit individuals’ eligibility for premium tax credits to buy insurance through the marketplaces that open on Oct. 1,” she said.

Under the law, most Americans will be required to have insurance in January 2014, or they will be subject to tax penalties. The announcement on Tuesday did not say anything about delaying that requirement or those penalties.

Administration officials sought to put the action in a positive light in the online announcements, and they emphasized that the existing insurance coverage of most Americans would not be affected.

“We have heard concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively,” Mark J. Mazur, an assistant Treasury secretary, wrote on the department’s Web site. “We recognize that the vast majority of businesses that will need to do this reporting already provide health insurance to their workers, and we want to make sure it is easy for others to do so.”

The 2010 Affordable Care Act required employers with more than 50 full-time workers to offer them affordable health insurance starting next year or face fines. Some companies with payrolls just above that threshold said they would cut jobs or switch some full-time workers to part-time employment so that they could avoid providing coverage.

Under the provision to set up state-based marketplaces, subsidies are supposed to be available to many lower- and middle-income people who do not have access to coverage from employers or other sources. It may be difficult, however, for officials running the exchanges to know who is entitled to subsidies if employers do not report information on the coverage they provide to workers.

Enrollment in the exchanges is to begin Oct. 1, with insurance coverage taking effect on Jan. 1. “We are on target to open the health insurance marketplace on Oct. 1 where small businesses and ordinary Americans will be able to go to one place to learn about their coverage options and make side-by-side comparisons of each plan’s price and benefits before they make their decision,” Valerie Jarrett, Mr. Obama’s senior adviser and liaison to the business community, wrote on the White House Web site.

But even some supporters of the law dispute that the establishment of the health insurance exchanges is on schedule, especially since progress varies by state and some Republican-led states are resisting the health care law and withholding resources for putting it into effect.

The subtext of this decision is something that has been going on both behind the scenes and in public for some time now. We have seen reports from employers, especially, those that are at or near the 50 full-time employee cut off where the employer mandate kicks in. There have been several reports of employers, especially restaurant franchisees, cutting back on employee hours in a pre-emptive effort to keep their business out of the 50 employee threshold, other reports of employers consciously holding back on hiring decisions based on the existence of the mandate and the fact that hiring a new employee means taking on not only their salary, but also the cost of the benefit package the employer offered and the increased administrative costs associated with it. Meanwhile, some groups of employers managed to carve out exceptions for themselves either in the law or via administrative waivers granted after the PPACA became law for the specific purpose of avoiding the burden of the mandate and not having to worry about changing their benefits package. Finally, there have been at least anecdotal reports of employers who were seriously discussing the possibility of dropping health care coverage for employees altogether and simply pay the fines for non-compliance. Add into this the administrative headaches that many employers were complaining about, and there was apparently tremendous pressure on the Administration to do something. So, they come up with the curious choice of a one year delay.

As you can expect, the right has been positively crowing about this since the delay was announced the day before a day on which most people are beginning to leave for an extended weekend  in what The West Wing would have called “Take Out The Trash Day” style, late yesterday. The Weekly Standard calls it a purely political move linked to the 2014 elections. The Heritage Foundation calls it a tacit admission by the Administration that the employer mandate is a “job killer.”  Bryan Preston wonders why we shouldn’t just scrap the whole law and start over. Jennifer Rubin, meanwhile, wonders if this will increase pressure to delay the effective start date of the individual mandate:

The inequity is great here. A big employer could potentially drop insurance, sending the employee out to pay more for his coverage or face a fine. The law for the little guy will become his worst nightmare. Pressure may therefore build to delay the individual mandate so as to alleviate this problem.

Allahpundit also sees big headaches for individuals:

What happens now, without a law requiring businesses to provide insurance to full-time workers as the cost of coverage — and the cost of complying with other new O-Care regulations — rises? No one knows. We had to pass the bill to see what’s in it, and now we’ll have to implement the bill without an employer mandate to see what it looks like in practice. Presumably a bunch of businesses will simply drop coverage and leave workers to fend for themselves on the new ObamaCare exchanges. Assuming that those are ready by next year.

Indeed, the Administration has already delayed the deadline for the establishment of the state-based exchanges several times, both because many states are simply utilizing the option given by the law not to do so and because the states that haven’t are finding that its far more difficult than originally anticipated. Given yesterday’s decision, it’s not too far-fetched to anticipate that this deadline will also be delayed, which means that the deadline for the individual mandate will also have to be delayed, otherwise millions of Americans would end up getting penalized for the fact that the rest of the PPACA system isn’t ready. And, what happens if things have to be delayed again in 2015?

The reaction on the left has been quite different. Ezra Klein, for example, argues that the entire employer mandate should be scrapped:

It’s a bad bit of policy. In fact, when it first emerged during the Senate’s negotiations, Icalled it ”one of the worst ideas in recent memory.” The reasons are well summarized in this brief from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which looks at an earlier, but structurally similar, version of the idea:

– By imposing a tax on employers for hiring people from low- and moderate-income families who would qualify for subsidies in the new health insurance exchanges, it would discourage firms from hiring such individuals and would favor the hiring — for the same jobs — of people who don’t qualify for subsidies (primarily people from families at higher income levels).

– It would provide an incentive for employers to convert full-time workers (i.e., workers employed at least 30 hours per week) to part-time workers.

– It would place significant new administrative burdens and costs on employers.

By tying the penalties to how many full-time workers an employer has, and how many of them qualify for subsidies, the mandate gives employers a reason to have fewer full-time workers, and fewer low-income workers.

Matthew Yglesias agrees:

[I]n order to make this politically workable small firms with fewer than 50 employees have been exempted. That’s nice, but it means that the marginal cost of hiring that 50th worker is sky-high. In the long run, you’re going to see a lot of potentially promising businesses stall out at 49 employees with deleterious consequences for competition across the whole economy.

Klein and Yglesias, then, aren’t too concerned by the delay because they don’t think the mandate should exist at all. The problem for the White House, though, is that the mandate does exist and it will have to be implemented eventually. The only other option would be to go back to Congress and try to come up with an alternative, but the Administration is unlikely to do that because it would mean opening up the entire law to the Congressional tinkering, and would be a major admission of defeat. So, they delayed its implementation by a year. As Sarah Kilff notes, though, delaying the inevitable still makes it inevitable:

Delaying the employer mandate until 2015 essentially puts an end to those actions for one year. While the Treasury Department cited concerns about the “complexity of the requirements” as the reason for the delay, observers saw a political motivation as well.

“I think this is less about readiness and more about the fact that they’re trying to be flexible in their implementation,” said Rhett Buttle, vice president at the Small Business Majority, which supports the Affordable Care Act. “It does seem like an olive branch.”

At the same time, health law supporters worry that the decision to delay will only advance a narrative that the administration will not be ready for October, when Americans are set to begin enrolling in the health law’s new marketplaces.

“This seems like an easy thing,” said Kocher, the former Obama advisor. “The fact that there might be an administrative reason why this is hard is worrisome. This is a hell of a lot easier than calcuating premium subsidies.”

(…)

McDonough said he worries that the provision could be delayed even further.

“Politically, it won’t get easier a year from now, it will get harder,” he said. “You’ve given the employer community a sense of confidence that maybe they can kill this. If I were an employer, I would smell blood in the water.”

Within minutes of the White House announcement,some employer groups were already making further demands. The International Franchise Association praised the delay, which it had lobbied for, but also said it did not go far enough.

“We need to make sure that we don’t forget that this is still a problem,” IFA’s Judith Thorman said. “There is still the definition of [what constitutes] a full-time employee that we’re going to try and pursue. That’s a significant issue for us.”

So, this decision delays the headache for a year but that’s about it. Indeed, if the primary motivation for really was political, then I’m not sure it’s really going to accomplish anything. A delay like this is a major concession, and the employer groups that have been pushing for relief are just going to expect more in the future. This isn’t over, it’s just a beginning.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Health Care, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. edmondo says:

    But the individual mandate stays in effect… What better way to push the sheep into the hands of the for-profit health insurers? Gouge ’em and make’ em pay

  2. al-Ameda says:

    this says it all:

    “I am utterly astounded,” said Sara Rosenbaum, a professor of health law and policy at George Washington University and an advocate of the law. “It boggles the mind. This step could significantly reduce the number of uninsured people who will gain coverage in 2014.”

    Seriously, as if we needed much more evidence that a Single Payer Health Insurance system is the most sensible way to address issues concerning the uninsured, portability of benefits and on and on and on.

  3. Tony W says:

    @al-Ameda: I am more convinced daily that this has been the plan all along

  4. Moosebreath says:

    I think Kevin Drum shows how Republicans and Democrats differ when they lose a big policy decision.

    “So what’s a better comparison? Maybe welfare reform. Plenty of Democrats hated it. Plenty of Democrats still do. It goes to the heart of the liberal worldview, in the same way that Obamacare goes to the heart of the conservative worldview. But after fighting and losing, Democrats on the left didn’t try to sabotage it. Democratic governors didn’t refuse to implement it. Nobody introduced 37 separate bills to repeal it. That doesn’t mean everything was sweetness and honey, or that nobody kept up the fight. But generally speaking, it was obvious that after years of contention, it was the law of the land. Within the mainstream ranks of the Democratic Party, the goal was mainly to figure out how best to implement it, not how best to sabotage it.

    But not Obamacare. Conservatives remain so spittle-flecked angry about it that they can’t even abide the thought of a sports league helping to run a public education campaign that reduces confusion about who’s entitled to what. Even now, they desperately want it to fail. And they’re going to do everything they can to help it fail, even if that means screwing over their own constituents. It’s a temper tantrum possibly unequalled in American political history.”

  5. al-Ameda says:

    @Tony W:

    @al-Ameda: I am more convinced daily that this has been the plan all along

    It’s hard for me to imagine that this was the plan, however if it is the ultimate result I will be very happy.

  6. Sam Malone says:

    Cue the fever swamp…where are JKB and Jenos???

    This provision only affects about 1% of the workforce so it’s hard to get too worked up over.
    I would just as soon see insurance taken out of the employer/employee relationship anyhow.
    The added value to that is it would keep religious zealot employers from using the freedom of religion excuse to push their superstitions and mythical beliefs on their employees as well.

  7. anjin-san says:

    I would just as soon see insurance taken out of the employer/employee relationship anyhow.

    Yes – losing your income and your insurance in one stroke is a devastating blow for most people

  8. walt moffett says:

    Lets see how this plays in the 2014 elections, if at all.

  9. ASK says:

    “Conservatives are calling the employer mandate a “major aspect” of Obamacare, but it isn’t. The individual mandate is a major aspect of the law. The employer mandate is a small aspect. Most businesses with over 50 workers already insure their workforce anyway. You’re looking at regulations affecting about one percent of the workforce.” –Jonathan Chait

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/07/obama-employer-mandate-delay-train-wreck-or-not.html

  10. Tyrell says:

    Maybe now this will give Obama and the rest of the politicians time to actually read the 1,000+ pages of the program.

  11. Rob Prather says:

    I’m pretty sure the individual mandate, which does kick in January 1, 2014 won’t have any effect until people pay taxes until 2015, at least in terms of penalties. I can’t find the link where I saw this.

  12. C. Clavin says:

    @ Anjin…
    That’s what the individual mandate and the exchanges are for.
    I’m a unique case…but I’d rather take the added income from my employer (theoretical) and purchase minimal/catastrophic insurance from the exchanges.

  13. stonetools says:

    I’m going with the young policy wonks on this-the employer mandate was a bad idea and should be scrapped. The good thing is that before 2015 comes 2014, and there is a possibility that the Democrats regain the House. If they do, then we can have a targeted fix.
    The Republicans don’t get to run on this issue in 2014, either.
    This is really the result of the whole f$%ked up process of passing the ACA. This provision would have likely been taken out had the bill gone through the conference process. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen because of the Scott Brown election and the House had to pass the Senate bill as is. That’s not the only bad idea preserved in the Senate bill.
    If we had a sensible Congress, we could fix this stuff. But we don’t have a sensible Congress, and haven’t had one since November 2010 and maybe even December 2009. Had Obama simply put the foot on the throttle and pushed through the bill in June 2009, when he had the votes and before Dick Armey organized the Tea Party crazy…
    Ah well.

  14. edmondo says:

    @Rob Prather:

    The individual mandate kicks in on 1/1/14. That’s when people will find out that they have to buy health insurance that costs way too much and covers way too little. I expect a slaughter for the Democrats in November 2014 once the public realizes what a piece if feces this law is.

  15. John O says:

    Conservatives will never accept Obamacare. Never. Its failure and repeal/replacement is only a matter of time.

  16. anjin-san says:

    @ C. Clavin

    It will be interesting to see how well the individual coverage works. Currently I have Kaiser as an individual, which is good coverage, but it costs quite a bit more than I was paying at my last corporate gig.

  17. David M says:

    It’s a small portion of the law, and if the GOP was actually willing to govern, it would be easy to fix. As they aren’t fit to hold office, it won’t be adjusted in the near future.

  18. Sam Malone says:

    @ anjin…
    does that include the employers contribution?

  19. stonetools says:

    @edmondo:

    Shorter edmondo:

    Obama didn’t wave his magic wand and pass single payer, so doing nothing at all is better than this compromise legislation.
    Now there is no doubt in my mind that single payer would have been better and simpler than ACA. There is also no doubt in my mind that single payer would never have passed. In the real world, the choices were ACA or nothing. I think you need to just reconcile yourself to that reality. You might want to defer to Ted Kennedy on this:

    1977: preferred single-payer but it’s politically impossible
    We negotiated long and hard in 1977 to compromise on a single-payer system and agree instead to support a plan built on our existing system of private insurance provided that coverage was mandatory and universal. I had personally supported single payer i the past and understood the benefits of it, but I also knew that it would be politically impossible to pass.

    2006: Supported RomneyCare as model for other states
    The plan we ultimately constructed & proposed to the legislature relied on three basic components:

    Those who could afford insurance would either buy it pay their own health-care costs–no more free riders showing up at the hospital expecting to ge care at tax-payers’ expense
    For those who couldn’t afford health insurance on their own, the state would pay a portion of their premium with the amount of the subsidy determined on a sliding scale by income
    To make it easier to insurers to service individual customers, the state would create a “connector” or “exchange” that would collect premiums and pass them on to the insurers.

    Our first stop was the office of Ted Kennedy. He saw an opportunity to work on a bipartisan experiment that might become a model for other states. He quickly grasped the structure of our program, and he agreed to support our approach. The bill wasn’t perfect; nothing that groundbreaking could be. But it was a big improvement over what we had.

    The law gives generous subsidies for buying health insurance. That will be rolled out on 01.01.2014 as well.

  20. stonetools says:

    @John O:

    Conservatives will never accept Obamacare. Never. Its failure and repeal/replacement is only a matter of time.

    Conservatives opposed Social Security and Medicare too. They learned to love both in time.

  21. edmondo says:

    The law gives generous subsidies for buying health insurance. That will be rolled out on 01.01.2014 as well.

    Apparently you forget who controls the House of Representatives. The easiest way to short circuit this POS has always been by not allocating the money to subsidize it. Without a trillion dollars in government funding, it disappears (probably buy popular demand because no one can afford it).

  22. JKB says:

    This is more an admission of the incompetence of government to organize a big program than a move for the 2014 election.

    I would say that one, businesses aren’t going to suddenly hire due to the delay since their real concern in when the Obama acolytes start the average to determine the 50 FTEs. Longer you don’t have them, the better chance you have of avoiding the abuse of the bureaucrats.

    Plus, with a Jan 2015 start date, the business news will be all mandate, all the time after Labor day 2014. And final notifications will be issued to employees probably before the election. And by June 2015, when full effect of the mandate will be apparent, the long trudge to the White House in 2016 will have started. So is there a Democrat who isn’t tainted by Obamacare?

    It is interesting though. The way the bureaucrats kill programs is by persistent delays, not by overt action. So this might be the first step in the Obamacare death march….yea!

  23. John O says:

    @stonetools: Not true. We hate them both. We will never accept any form of coercion.

  24. Tyrell says:

    @stonetools: I think that they went about this all wrong. The president should have formed a private committee made up of doctors, nurses, hospital workers, insurance company execs, economic experts, a teacher, and maybe a construction worker just to get a good cross section of the population and a variety of experience and opinions. Put them up in a nice hotel with lots of good food for a long weekend and you will get a concise (10 pages or less), sensible, readable, and practical plan that everyone can get along with. Oh, one more thing: no politicians allowed: they can stay on their golf courses and sit this one out. That is the biggest problem with this plan: the American people got left out.

  25. al-Ameda says:

    @John O:

    Conservatives will never accept Obamacare. Never. Its failure and repeal/replacement is only a matter of time.

    So, we’ve already had 37 attempts to repeal ACA, what do you think it will take? At least 103 attempts? 462? 666?

  26. Sam Malone says:

    “…the incompetence of government to organize a big program…”

    A big program?
    Like Social Security that sends out $750B in payments every year with a 99.96% accuracy rate?
    Like Medicare that services 48 million Americans?
    Like the ATC that guides tens of thousands of aircraft safely every single day?
    Like the invasion of Iraq with 250,000 soldiers?
    Like the construction of the Interstate Highway System – 47,182 miles long, $425B in construction costs, and the largest public works program since the Pyramids?
    You mean like those kinds of programs?
    JKB…you seem to be getting dumber by the day.

  27. Gavrilo says:

    @Moosebreath:

    A. Welfare reform passed Congress with a huge majority, including a majority of Democrats. Obamacare barely passed, without a single Republican vote.

    B. Welfare reform was hugely popular with the public before it was passed and remains popular. Obamacare was unpopular when it was passed and remains unpopular.

    C. Welfare reform worked so well that Bill Clinton touts it as a part of his legacy. Obamacare is such a trainwreck that it can’t even be implemented more than 3 years after it was signed into law.

    Other than that, the comparison is astonishing.

  28. John O says:

    @al-Ameda: It doesn’t matter. How many attempts were made to pass something like it? Too numerable to count. So it goes.

  29. stonetools says:

    @edmondo:

    And if Congress does this, then Obama can postpone the mandate one year and complain loudly and long that Congress is preventing young people and poor people from getting health insurance by not voting the subsidies provided for in the ACA. The 2014 mid terms becomes a referendum on ACA on a specific provision of the ACA- subsidies to buy health insurance- that’s likely to be popular with the public, and which will drive turnout.
    Now can the Democrats fumble this? You know they can-but they can also use it as a way to regain the House.

    The point is that implementation of the ACA-or any universal health insurance plan whatsoever-was:

    1. Always going to be difficult
    2. Always going to face massive resistance from the Republicans.

    Both would be true even if the mythical Perfect Liberal Single Payer Plan had passed.

  30. al-Ameda says:

    @John O:

    @al-Ameda: It doesn’t matter. How many attempts were made to pass something like it? Too numerable to count. So it goes.

    You’re kidding, right?
    My guess is that you’re going with the over/under at 666

  31. stonetools says:

    @John O:

    Not true. We hate them both. We will never accept any form of coercion.

    This is true of the Krazy Kore Konservatives, which do have considerable representation in the House. But the Republican leadership knows better.

    Still, its good for FDL liberals like Edmondo to know that the KKKers are still around . THAT’S the real enemy, not Obama.

  32. stonetools says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Well, FWIW, this liberal thinks that welfare reform, like DOMA and DADT, was a big concession by Clinton to the conservatives that, however popular at the time, will be seen as a mistake in retrospect.

    I think that ACA will be seen like the Social Security Act of 1935- a major improvement in the social safety net, that, while flawed by compromise , will be the foundation for a better health care system in the future.

  33. anjin-san says:

    Obamacare is such a trainwreck that it can’t even be implemented more than 3 years after it was signed into law.

    Actually, a number of elements of Obamacare have already been implemented. It’s also worth noting that health care costs recently declined for the first time since the 70s.

    But, I realize that you have already been told what you think. Carry on.

  34. anjin-san says:

    “…the incompetence of government to organize a big program…”

    I have a couple of photos in my office – an American standing on the moon, a space station orbiting the planet with people living on it.

    Maybe they are photoshop fakes.

  35. Sam Malone says:

    @ Gavrilo…
    Comparing the atmosphere when welfare reform was passed to when obamacare was passed is nonsensical. This congress, and the last, is/was the the most obstructionist in history. Saying no Republicans voted for it means nothing, because they will not vote for anything.
    Democrats worked with Republicans back then. Republicans have become a group of ignorant, racist, cry-babies who stomp their feet and hold their breath and are unwilling, or unable, to do their jobs.

  36. Sam Malone says:

    I’ve got a fresh $20 that says Gavrilo is Jenos.

  37. Gavrilo says:

    @Sam Malone:

    Shouldn’t you be turning your skin cells into people right about now?

  38. stonetools says:

    @anjin-san:

    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us

    It’s like Kryptonite to libertarians. Cracks me up every time, too.

    Here is an updated version aimed at British Euroskeptics:

    What Has Europe ever Done for Us

  39. Jenos Idanian says:

    No. No. A thousand times no.

    Many of these flaws were pointed out by critics at the time the bill was still a bill. Instead, the Democrats refused any and all input, and the bill was passed with only one Republican vote from both Houses. It was passed too quickly for people to read the whole thing. Then-Speaker Pelosi said “we have to pass the bill to see what is in it.”

    The Democrats own this turd sandwich lock, stock, and barrel.

    And further, there is no provision in the law anywhere that grants Obama the ability to postpone it. He’s just declaring that he has the right to do so.

    Screw that. No delays, no waivers, no exemptions. It stays on the books as is, and is enforced as is, until it is repealed. Because that’s what the Democrats wanted, that’s what they fought for, and that’s what they won.

    If that means that companies stop expanding or fire people to get under the 50 employee threshold, so be it.

    If that means that medical device makers go out of business because of the stupid taxes on their products, so be it.

    If that means that people’s insurance rates skyrocket despite so many promises to the contrary, so be it.

    If that means that people run the numbers and just pay the fine/tax/penalty/whatever and go without insurance because they can’t afford the “affordable” policies, so be it.

    If that means that companies stop offering affordable policies (like catastrophic coverage, childrens’ insurance, and whatnot) because they don’t meet the “gold standard” of minimum coverage mandated by the law, so be it.

    And most importantly, if this means that people who would be hurt by the law are hurt now, instead of after the 2014 elections, and might actually connect their suffering with the Democrats who created and passed this abortion of an idiotic law, definitely so be it.

    This is Obama’s pride and joy. This is the crown jewel in the Democrats’ crown. Make them own every single bit of it.

  40. Caj says:

    We needed universal health care from the start. The selfish in society don’t care that millions don’t have health care just as long as they have theirs. Our health care system is the most expensive in the world. Even with health insurance you still pay through the nose due to stupid deductibles! All other countries have universal health care but we the most prosperous country in the world can’t even have that! The need for greed still outweighs the need for affordable health care for all.

  41. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Instead, the Democrats refused any and all input

    The view from GOP fantasyland is always good for a laugh.

  42. Jenos Idanian says:

    @David M: Many of these problems were pointed out at the time. Those of us who pointed them out were mocked, insulted, and ignored.

    So, we should now apologize for being right at an inconvenient time?

    I repeat, David: THIS is what you wanted, this is what you fought for. Lick it up, baby. You own this turd sandwich. Open wide.

  43. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I think it is a pretty good deal that we can now purchase health insurance and not be denied for a pre-existing condition. What’s not to like?

  44. Sam Malone says:

    “…Shouldn’t you be turning your skin cells into people right about now?…”

    There’s too many people on this planet already.
    Not reproducing is the Green thing to do.

  45. Rob Prather says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Instead, the Democrats refused any and all input, and the bill was passed with only one Republican vote from both Houses.

    That’s one way of looking at it. Another way is that the Democrats were open to input to a system of near-universal insurance and the Republicans weren’t interested.

    Also, it was part of a larger strategy for the Rs: they wanted to vote in lock step and reclaim Congress. They got half of it.

  46. Sam Malone says:

    “…Many of these flaws were pointed out by critics at the time the bill was still a bill…”

    Like I commented at 10:12…cue the fever swamp.
    You can imagine how Jenos or JayTea or Gravilo or whoever he/she is today would have cried about Social Security back in the day, or Medicare. Or the Interstate Highway Sytem for that matter.
    Ooooh nooo…not something new…we don’t want anything new…our little pea-brains can’t handle new.

  47. Sam Malone says:

    “…Those of us who pointed them out were mocked, insulted, and ignored…”

    Which is totally appropriate…and a good course of action still today.

  48. stonetools says:

    Some sanity from Jonathon Chait:

    It is true that the law calls for the mandate to take effect in January. On the other hand, administrative delays push back deadlines like this all the time. The Supreme Court ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon emissions in 2007, and the Bush White House evaded that order by refusing to open an e-mail from the agency. Obama’s EPA has delayed its carbon regulation for years now, and no conservatives have demanded that Obama act faster.

    The question becomes what happens after the delay is up. Ideally, we could just repeal the employer mandate. Major laws are routinely followed by legislative corrections to smooth out their glitches. But conservatives have steadfastly followed a strategy of the worse, the better, refusing to accept any changes to Obamacare short of repeal. The employer mandate was one of the few aspects of the law that seemed likely to produce real, rather than imagined, economic damage, and thus conservatives invested a lot of their train-wreck hopes in this aspect of it.

  49. JKB says:

    @anjin-san: I have a couple of photos in my office – an American standing on the moon, a space station orbiting the planet with people living on it.

    Here you cite two programs given to the STEM majors to make happen and they did. Just as we see success when we give big jobs to the military.

    But with Obamacare, the big job as given to the social science majors and liberal arts cum law school types. And we have the expected disaster. Why you might ask? Well, there are two types of students in this world, those who go to school to learn how to do something useful for others and liberal arts/social science majors.

    You know things are bad when you can’t even successfully implement your own bad ideas.

    Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) July 03, 2013

    Congress passed the employer mandate into law, but the exec branch is refusing to enforce it. Bureaucrats run this government.—
    Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) July 03, 2013

    omewhere, a Democratic ex-congressman who lost re-election in 2010 over his Obamacare vote is staring silently into space.—
    David Burge (@iowahawkblog) July 03, 2013

  50. JKB says:

    @stonetools: “The employer mandate was one of the few aspects of the law that seemed likely to produce real, rather than imagined, economic damage,”

    Hey, you know what might have helped? If they’d read the law to know what was in it before the Democrats passed it. Dumb asses.

    But wait, the Democrats wrote the law, refused any attempt to correct it or even to study it before imposing it by partisan fiat upon an unsuspecting nation. Now, that they see the terrible nature of their signature work, they want another shot. Here’s a clue, when you find such major flaws in such a complex work, it is best to call “All Stop”, throw out the whole mess and start over. Hopefully, having learned from the Democrats’ terrible mistakes.

  51. David M says:

    @JKB:

    If they’d read the law to know what was in it before the Democrats passed it…But wait, the Democrats wrote the law, refused any attempt to correct it or even to study it before imposing it by partisan fiat upon an unsuspecting nation…

    Even you can’t possibly believe the nonsense than the Democrats had no idea what they were voting for, didn’t want GOP votes for it and are now the ones refusing to make routine corrections.

  52. Sam Malone says:

    “…But with Obamacare, the big job as given to the social science majors and liberal arts cum law school types…”

    So now it’s not government that’s incompetent, but liberal arts cum law school types…whatever the fu@& that means.
    Really can’t keep a coherent train of thought can you, JKB?

  53. Sam Malone says:

    You can only laugh at the hystericism coming from JKB and Jenos.
    Of course given both their histories fro being absolutely wrong about things…you can only assume the PPACA is going to be a smashing success…even with a few minor hiccups like this one.

  54. stonetools says:

    @JKB:

    Hey, you know what might have helped? If they’d read the law to know what was in it before the Democrats passed it. Dumb asses.

    You must not know how legislation passes. There were folks in favor of the law, and they put it in the Senate bill. Among the people who liked it were some businesses:

    The irony is that the worker-based employer mandate got passed in part because employers preferred it to a payroll-based mandate — a fact that puzzled Senate health aides at the time, but that they made peace with in order to pass the bill.

    The House had a better solution:

    “The employer mandate in the House bill was much better constructed from a policy point of view,” says Topher Spiro, director of health-care policy at the Center for American Progress. ”It was based on the percentage of payroll you spent on health care rather than on how many workers you had, so there’s not this weird disincentive related to part-time workers. But it didn’t have the political support to pass.”

    The House solution didn’t have a chance because Scott Brown was elected, and there was no chance for a conference and a blended bill.

    The Republicans had a chance for input, but they dragged their feet, refused to cooperate, and voted down everything.Who were the dumb asses then?

    IOW, people DID read the bill, contrary to conservative mythology, and some employers lobbied to put the current provision in the Senate bill. The House had its own, better version , but because of the vagaries of legislation, the flawed Senate version made it into the final version of the law. Had the Republicans cooperated on voting for the legislation, they could have taken it out of the Senate bill but they made the political calculation to go all or nothing-and lost. Even now, the provision can be taken out and modified if the Republicans wanted to be sensible-but they don’t.

  55. wr says:

    @Tyrell: Say, there’s a long weekend coming up, and you’re a pretty average American. Why don’t you take a half hour or so and come up with the bullet points for this simple ten page plan that will guarantee health care for all Americans?

  56. Andy says:

    @Rob Prather:

    That’s one way of looking at it. Another way is that the Democrats were open to input to a system of near-universal insurance and the Republicans weren’t interested.

    If that were actually the case, then why didn’t the Democrats do that, since the bill was passed on an almost complete party-line vote? The reason is there was not nearly a majority of Democrats who supported it. That’s the same reason the public option didn’t make it – the Democrats could not muster enough support in their own caucus to include it.

    The reality is that the Democrats passed what was politically possible within their own caucus and they purposely sacrificed their house majority to do it.

  57. Rob Prather says:

    @JKB:

    Hey, you know what might have helped? If they’d read the law to know what was in it before the Democrats passed it. Dumb asses.

    You’re being foolish. They knew it had an employer mandate.

    it is best to call “All Stop”, throw out the whole mess and start over.

    No. The Republicans have no intention of replacing it, so we need to stick with this, your hyperbole notwithstanding.

  58. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian: “Make them own every single bit of it. ”

    Yeah, you get right on that will all the massive power in your possession.

  59. wr says:

    @JKB: Yes, very convincing quoting Bobby Jindal to back up your insane scree about how only engineers are qualified to run government programs. This would be the same Bobby Jindal who just got his ass handed to him for trying to shovel state money to “schools” teaching kids that Adam and Even rode on dinoaurs.

    Yup, your party shore do love that science stuff…

  60. David M says:

    @Andy:

    The economy had a larger affect on the midterm election results than passing Obamacare. Also, the impact of requiring all 60 Democratic votes in the Senate ends up distorting the normal legislative process, it’s likely the bill would have been improved if it was not filibustered. And as the filibuster was entirely a decision by the GOP, they get part if not most of the blame for the problems it caused.

  61. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    And further, there is no provision in the law anywhere that grants Obama the ability to postpone it. He’s just declaring that he has the right to do so.

    So, if the law does not either expressly (1) allow it or (2) disallow it, it is not permitted?

  62. Andy says:

    @David M:

    Also, the impact of requiring all 60 Democratic votes in the Senate ends up distorting the normal legislative process, it’s likely the bill would have been improved if it was not filibustered.

    The Democrats had 60 votes in the Senate and thus they could prevent any filibuster. How did that impede the legislative process? The problem was not the GoP, who had no real power to stop the Democrats. The problem was that the liberal and moderate wings of the Democratic party could not agree and the law that came out was what was politically possible within the party.

  63. David M says:

    @Andy:

    Simply put, that’s not how it works. By filibustering the bill, the GOP was giving every Democratic Senator veto power over the bill unless their minor concern was addressed. If only 50 votes were required to pass the bill, it probably would have looked much different.

    The impact of the filibuster is much greater than simply a single vote.

  64. al-Ameda says:

    @Andy:
    So then, you’re happy that ACA passed?

  65. Andy says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    And further, there is no provision in the law anywhere that grants Obama the ability to postpone it. He’s just declaring that he has the right to do so.

    That’s true, but mostly irrelevant. The law isn’t “postponed” – enforcement of the law is postponed. Subtle but important difference. Executives sometimes decide they will not enforce certain laws, or will prioritize enforcement of some laws over others. Legislatures and courts usually let them get away with this.

  66. Andy says:

    @David M:

    By filibustering the bill, the GOP was giving every Democratic Senator veto power over the bill unless their minor concern was addressed.

    It seems bizarre to me to expect members of the GoP to not filibuster a bill they universally oppose so that Democratic Senators can’t demand that their minor concerns get addressed.

    @al-Ameda:

    So then, you’re happy that ACA passed?

    Not particularly because I think it was a bad bill that focused on the wrong problem.

  67. Andy says:

    @David M:

    If only 50 votes were required to pass the bill, it probably would have looked much different.

    Then how do you explain the house vote?

  68. David M says:

    @Andy:

    All I’m saying is the GOP owns the results of choosing to filibuster the health care bill rather than participate in the legislative process.

  69. David M says:

    @Andy:

    Then how do you explain the house vote?

    Not following, especially as the house bill didn’t even have this employer mandate problem. Also, you do realize that only just over 50% of the House voted for this bill, nowhere near the 60% required in the Senate after the GOP filibustered the bill.

  70. wr says:

    @Andy: “Not particularly because I think it was a bad bill that focused on the wrong problem. ”

    And what would the right problem have been? Figuring out how to cut more taxes for rich people? Making sure women had even less access to health care?

  71. stonetools says:

    @Andy:

    The problem was that the liberal and moderate wings of the Democratic party could not agree and the law that came out was what was politically possible within the party.

    Another problem is that Obama truly believed his own bulls&*t-which was that there was no blue America or red America and that he could coax Republicans into supporting a bipartisan bill. So he waited and waffled while Republicans dragged their feet and organized its so called “popular” opposition movement -the Tea Party. Had he stopped waiting for non-existent Republican offers of compromise and pushed for early votes , the ACA would have passed in regular order before the Scott Brown election almost derailed the whole effort. I think the employer mandate and other problems would have been ironed out in conference.

  72. Andy says:

    @David M:

    All I’m saying is the GOP owns the results of choosing to filibuster the health care bill rather than participate in the legislative process.

    You talk about the filibuster as if it was only the GoP. For the filibuster to succeed, since the Dems had 60 votes, the GoP would require Democratic support to make a filibuster a real threat. If some Democrats were willing to join the GoP in a filibuster, how is the the fault of the GoP?

    My original point was simply to note that the Democratic party was divided on many issues like the public option and true universal coverage and that is why they did not make it into the ACA. Adding some Republicans would not have changed that nor would it have made the bill better.

    And, just to be clear, I don’t like the filibuster and I wish the Senate would get rid of it, or at least greatly restrict it’s use. Yet for all the complaints about the filibuster Senators from either party don’t seem eager to change it.

    @David M:

    Also, you do realize that only just over 50% of the House voted for this bill, nowhere near the 60% required in the Senate after the GOP filibustered the bill.

    Yes, that’s my point. It passed by the barest of margins which means they got as much as they could into the bill to allow it to still pass. A more politically moderate bill would have lost liberal votes. A more politically liberal bill would have lost moderate votes. They passed what was politically possible within the Democratic caucus. Again, the reason the House bill did not have the public option and true universal coverage (much less something like Medicare for all) is because those policies did not have enough Democratic votes.

  73. Andy says:

    @wr:

    Figuring out how to cut more taxes for rich people? Making sure women had even less access to health care?

    Uhm, no. The right problem to focus on was health care cost containment and, hopefully, cost reduction. Universal coverage is important, but it isn’t sustainable when costs are growing at 2-3 times the rate of inflation.

  74. Sam Malone says:

    @ Andy…
    Well it’s a good thing costs are coming down then, eh?

  75. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David M: I think it is a pretty good deal that we can now purchase health insurance and not be denied for a pre-existing condition. What’s not to like?

    Well, for starters, the “base plans” are now a LOT more expensive than before. So sure, you can get a plan — if you can afford it. Because the law has destroyed all the minimal plans, the catastrophic only policies. It’s like saying anyone can buy a car — but it’s illegal to sell a used car.

    Which calls back the “cash for clunkers” fiasco, but that’s another whole bit of idiocy.

    The majority of young people don’t need the Cadillac plans that are the minimum that can be offered under ObamaCare. A lot of them can get by just fine with lesser plans. But we can’t let them do that, because ObamaCare needs their money to cover the rest of us. We’re sticking them with our tab. And they’re too inexperienced to have realized it.

    When I have some time, I oughta go back to the OTB archives and see just how many of these “unexpected” problems were predicted, and how those predictions were dismissed. It could be quite entertaining.

  76. stonetools says:

    @Andy:

    Everyone has their own idea of what the “problem” is and what a “perfect” bill would look like. There are significant cost con trol measures in the ACA and they seem to be working .
    I have my own ideas of what a better ACA would be, but as time goes on, I’m just happy that any law was passed at all.

  77. David M says:

    @Andy:

    You talk about the filibuster as if it was only the GoP. For the filibuster to succeed, since the Dems had 60 votes, the GoP would require Democratic support to make a filibuster a real threat. If some Democrats were willing to join the GoP in a filibuster, how is the the fault of the GoP?

    My original point was simply to note that the Democratic party was divided on many issues like the public option and true universal coverage and that is why they did not make it into the ACA. Adding some Republicans would not have changed that nor would it have made the bill better.

    That’s kind of my point, every single Democratic Senator had veto power over the bill completely due to the GOP filibuster. Secondly, describing the Democratic party as divided over some of those issues isn’t really accurate, as they had to get all 60 votes to pass the bill, so it meant that things that could have had the support of 55 Senators with 5 opposing couldn’t be included.

    The filibuster meant the bill had to have the vote of all 60 Democratic Senators to pass, it’s not very realistic to think a bill that only required 50 votes would not have been different.

  78. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Are you saying that actual insurance policies cost more than policies that don’t really cover anything? And this is newsworthy why? Secondly, you didn’t address the most basic issue of people that could not buy insurance policies before. I’m pretty sure even an expensive policy is better than not having health insurance at all.

  79. stonetools says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Your problem is that the Republican alternative to the ACA is nothing.
    This means that regardless of the problems of ACA, its always going to be better than what the Republicans have on offer. It also means that your criticism of the ACA looks like bad faith.
    You apparently don’t seem to understand that the ACA offers subsidies for purchasing these plans.

    Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), individuals who purchase insurance after January 1, 2014 through an Exchange will be eligible for subsidies for health insurance premiums and cost-sharing if their income is less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) — $89,00 for a family of four in 2011. FPL amounts are updated annually to reflect inflation. Individuals who get insurance through their employer can get subsidized coverage in an Exchange if their premiums are unaffordable (more than 9.5 percent of their household income) or the plan is inadequate (pays less than 60 percent of the cost of covered benefits).

    RTWT. You might learn something.

  80. wr says:

    @Andy: “Universal coverage is important, but it isn’t sustainable when costs are growing at 2-3 times the rate of inflation. ”

    Well, gosh, then I guess it’s a good thing that Obama’s terrible awful no-good idea has actually lowered medical costs for the first time in recent memory.

    And and universal coverage is only “important” to the people who have insurance — to those who don’t, it’s life or death.

    But why should a good Republican worry about losers like that, right?

  81. Davebo says:

    If that means that companies stop expanding or fire people to get under the 50 employee threshold, so be it.

    This is the reason Jenos will never employ more than perhaps someone to mow his yard in the future.

    Unless of course he finds a career in posting idiocy with selected bolding on the internet.

    Here’s a clue dude. I own a business. If I have 55 employees but determine I can efficiently run the business with 54 I’ll be down to 53 by the end of the month. Hell one of the biggest areas of my business is helping other companies streamline and reduce the number of the employees they need to service their business and make more profit.

    If, on the outside chance, you are ever in a position to make decisions on hiring and firing whatever organization decided it was a good idea to put you in that position is facing the beginning of the end.

  82. edmondo says:

    Well, gosh, then I guess it’s a good thing that Obama’s terrible awful no-good idea has actually lowered medical costs for the first time in recent memory.

    … and when they rose at 4 times the annual CPI the year before that, was Obama responsible that too?

  83. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @stonetools: Your problem is that the Republican alternative to the ACA is nothing.
    This means that regardless of the problems of ACA, its always going to be better than what the Republicans have on offer. It also means that your criticism of the ACA looks like bad faith.

    Actually, my objection to the PPACA is that it took a system that had some issues but worked for a lot of people and made it worse for a lot of people.

    If given a choice between a mediocre system and a worse replacement, “do nothing” sounds pretty damned good to me.

  84. Andy says:

    @David M:

    That’s kind of my point, every single Democratic Senator had veto power over the bill completely due to the GOP filibuster.

    Well, blaming the GoP for the actions of Democrats is a novel argument.

    Secondly, describing the Democratic party as divided over some of those issues isn’t really accurate, as they had to get all 60 votes to pass the bill, so it meant that things that could have had the support of 55 Senators with 5 opposing couldn’t be included.

    Which is why I asked, how do you explain the House? The house was barely able to pass the Senate bill and even that took 3 months.

    @Sam Malone:

    Costs went down for, IIRC, one month. No one thinks costs for this year will be less than for last year. The estimates I’ve seen suggest that, for this year, the overall increase in healthcare costs will be around 6.5% instead of 7.5%. So this isn’t really reducing healthcare costs, it’s somewhat reducing the increase in costs. Even if the increase drops to 6% that will still be 2-3 times the rate of inflation….

    @stonetools:

    Everyone has their own idea of what the “problem” is and what a “perfect” bill would look like. There are significant cost con trol measures in the ACA and they seem to be working .

    As I said, I’m talking about the focus of the bill. The PPACA had some cost control measures, but the primary purpose was to expand coverage. My opinion is that the primary purpose should have been cost control. Furthermore, cost control is something everyone (except maybe the healthcare industry) agrees is necessary, though opinions differ greatly regarding how cost controls could be achieved. The Democrats decided to put the focus on universal coverage and I think that was bad policy, though one could argue that a cost-control focus was not politically viable.

    IMO, cost control is by far the most important reform because no policy is sustainable without it. In fact the biggest reason that health insurance is so expensive is because healthcare is so expensive thanks to the effects of compounding at 2-3 times the rate of inflation over several decades. Unlike most, particularly partisans, I don’t have a predisposition toward any particular policy (ie. Ryan plan or single-payer). I’m pretty skeptical of the ideologically-based proposals that I’ve seen.

    @wr:

    And and universal coverage is only “important” to the people who have insurance — to those who don’t, it’s life or death.

    But why should a good Republican worry about losers like that, right?

    Since I’m not a Republican, I wouldn’t know.

  85. stonetools says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Actually, my objection to the PPACA is that it took a system that had some issues but worked for a lot of people .

    You know who the system really sucked for, Jenos ? The 42 million people outside the system ( I should know. I was one of them for years). The Republican (and presumably your ) solution for them?

    “Why , the system is working so well for me and lots of people. Don’t have any insurance? Well, don’t get sick. And if you do, die quickly”.

    and made it worse for a lot of people

    {Citation needed}

  86. stonetools says:

    @Andy:

    As I said, I’m talking about the focus of the bill. The PPACA had some cost control measures, but the primary purpose was to expand coverage

    People can disagree about things like this. I can tell you that if you live without health insurance, life really suxx RIGHT NOW! You don’t really give a f**k about the long run, because in the long run, you’re dead.
    I think if you have good health insurance, taking the long view and thinking that cost control comes first makes sense. It’s different when you have no health insurance, you’re not going to the doctor because you can’t afford it, and you are one accident away from a ruinous medical bill.

  87. bill says:

    quote of the day goes to bobby jindal;

    “You know things are bad when you can’t even successfully implement your own bad ideas”

    i think it’s more of an election year ploy, but you guys already know that’s untrue….

  88. Andy says:

    @stonetools: Sure, reasonable people can disagree on priorities and I can certainly see the argument that the uninsured was a more immediate one even if I disagree.

  89. JKB says:

    @Andy: Executives sometimes decide they will not enforce certain laws, or will prioritize enforcement of some laws over others.

    Ah, yes, the Richard M. Nixon theory of the Presidency: “Well, when the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.” Nice mentor you Progs have picked.

  90. Jenos Idanian says:

    I’m starting to reconsider my earlier position.

    By Obama’s precedent, a future president (one with a lick of common sense and real-world experience) could just choose to not enforce the ObamaCare mandates at all, just “postpone indefinitely” the mandates and other stupid policies. At that point, we wouldn’t need to actually repeal that overpolished turd at all.

  91. Stan says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    “… it took a system that had some issues but worked for a lot of people and made it worse for a lot of people.”

    I can’t see how ObamaCare is making the system worse for me or for others who have health insurance provided by an employer. Could you explain? I’m asking because I have yet to see a coherent argument supporting your statement.

  92. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Actually, my objection to the PPACA is that it took a system that had some issues but worked for a lot of people and made it worse for a lot of people.

    “lot of people” renders that statement pretty meaningless, which is kind of the point. Most complaints about Obamacare tend to make the groups seem equal in size, even though they are not. The groups benefiting from Obamacare are easily larger than the groups that aren’t as well off, even under the assumption that the people no longer able to purchase substandard insurance policies are worse off.

  93. David M says:

    @Andy:

    Which is why I asked, how do you explain the House? The house was barely able to pass the Senate bill and even that took 3 months.

    That’s another sign you clearly don’t understand the legislative process in general, or for Obamacare in particular. Your confusion over how the filibuster is more than just a simple roadblock makes more sense now, so it seems a trip to Wikipedia for the basics on the passage of Obamacare should be in your future.

  94. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    Here you cite two programs given to the STEM majors to make happen and they did.

    Keep those goalposts moving dude. You said government was incompetent to do big jobs. But, I will give you the benefit of the doubt. You are simply a very, very sloppy thinker.

  95. Andy says:

    @JKB:

    Nice mentor you Progs have picked.

    “You progs?” I think you are confusing analysis with advocacy.

    @David M:

    Rule #1 of the internet – never cite Wikipedia as an authoritative source. In this case, there’s a lot that Wikipedia article is missing, namely the house bill which passed before the Senate bill and before there was any threat of a filibuster. The Wikipedia entry you link to doesn’t even mention the first house bill at all, nor does it even provide a link to the Wikipedia article on that bill!

    Additionally, the PPACA Wikipedia article you linked suggests that the filibuster is what prevented “medicare for all” from passing. That is pure fantasy because Speaker Pelosi tried to pass a version of that called Medicare+5% and she couldn’t get the votes.

    As far as knowledge of legislative process goes, I know enough to know that Speaker Pelosi wanted to do what the House often does to combat the filibuster, which is pass a bill with provisions the Senate doesn’t like in order to provide leverage in conference negotiations. In this case she wanted to get a strong public option, but she couldn’t get the votes for the robust “Medicare +5%” public option, so she was forced to water down the public option and add a strong anti-abortion provision (the Stupak-Pitts amendment) to finally get enough votes to pass.

    Anyone who closely followed the debates in the House in the summer of 2009 knows that Pelosi worked very hard to get as robust a public option as she possibly could to include a version of “medicare for all.” The reason she failed had nothing to do with the Senate and everything to do with divisions in her own Caucus.

  96. David M says:

    @Andy:

    You’ve basically stopped making any sense now. You claimed the GOP filibuster didn’t affect the final bill, offering the length of time it took the Hose to pass the Senate bill as an example of something.

    Unfortunately, that pretty much proves my point, as the Wikipedia article (which did directly link to the House bill) showed. The only reason the House even had to pass the Senate bill was the GOP filibuster, so I’d say that’s had a fairly large impact on the final bill.

  97. wr says:

    @bill: “quote of the day goes to bobby jindal; “You know things are bad when you can’t even successfully implement your own bad ideas”

    Oh, is that what Jindal said when his own Republican-controlled state legislature shot down his pet idea of shovelling state education money to “schools” teaching in science class that Adam and Eve rode around on dinosaurs?

    Hilarious that you would quote this famous fraud as some kind of authority…

  98. John O says:

    @Andy: @al-Ameda:. The primary purpose of the PPACA was to expand government power, specifically the IRS. Why? Conservatives know why – to target us. That much is beyond dispute.

  99. al-Ameda says:

    @John O:

    The primary purpose of the PPACA was to expand government power, specifically the IRS. Why? Conservatives know why – to target us. That much is beyond dispute.

    Yes John, we also have plans to deport Conservatives to your ancestral homeland of North Korea. Why? You know why – low taxes, no illegal immigration, no diversity, a strong national security state, no unions and low wages. It’s a conservative paradise – you can thank us later.

  100. anjin-san says:

    Is it just me, or do Jenos, JKB, and the other usual suspects sound even more angry and bitter that usual?

    Watching the Fox/Limbaugh/Issa Parade O’ Scandals turn into the punchline to a bad joke has to have been rough on them.

  101. Matt Bernius says:

    @Andy:
    While I in general agree with most of what you’ve written above, I do take some issue with this:

    The Democrats had 60 votes in the Senate and thus they could prevent any filibuster.

    Again, we Democrat’s 60 vote majority has always been overstated. One needs to remember that one of those vote — Frankin — was prevented from being seated for over six months by Coleman’s baseless challenge. By the time Frankin was seated Ted Kennedy had effectively left the senate.

    Regardless, your point about *Democratic* opposition to the public option still stands.

    “You progs?” I think you are confusing analysis with advocacy.

    That’s a problem a number of commenters here tend to have.

  102. Matt Bernius says:

    @Andy:
    This points to an important broader issues with attempting to actually enact legislation — something that we are about to see with Immigration Reform and the Republican party:

    That raising a coalition to be *against* something is far easier than raising a coalition to be *for* something.

  103. Tyrell says:

    @David M:What is needed is a plan that offers many choices and options. If someone wants maternity benefits then they should pay more. I do not need maternity benefits, but I would pay more for dental and vision. Some things should not be covered at all, such as those “enhancement” drugs and other such filth. I would also go for a very high deductible in exchange for lower monthly premium. You come out better in the long run. And all medical expenses should be fully tax deductible, not that phony percentage of income that few people can ever meet.

  104. John O says:

    @al-Ameda:North Korea is a LIBERAL paradise. The state is responsible for absolutely everything. And what happened to the re-education camps for conservatives planned for Arizona? You would rather deport us instead? While making us pay for it, naturally.

  105. al-Ameda says:

    @anjin-san:

    Is it just me, or do Jenos, JKB, and the other usual suspects sound even more angry and bitter that usual?

    No, it’s not just you – those guys are so disappointed that, since 2009, America has been on a steady path of recovery from the 2008 economic catastrophe. They were counting on more failure in order that they might re-take the White House. It’s all been so terrible for them.

  106. al-Ameda says:

    @John O:

    You would rather deport us instead? While making us pay for it, of course.

    Yes, you’re exactly right. We’d rather have you parasites take personal responsibility and pay for your return to North Korea, instead of having us liberal taxpayers pay for you guys like we always do.

  107. al-Ameda says:

    @Tyrell:

    And all medical expenses should be fully tax deductible, not that phony percentage of income that few people can ever meet.

    Wow, more tax subsidies, which will only serve to make medical care even more expensive than it already is? Great idea!

  108. John O says:

    @al-Ameda: Return? I’m from Chicago. I know who I would like to have returned here.

    Parasite? Seriously? Ask my wife and kids about that. If only I could keep more of what I earn – but that’s anathema to the Democrats and their constituents.

  109. Stan says:

    @John O: I understand your feeling perfectly. Part of my mind agrees with you. The other part wants social programs to be there for my daughter and my hard luck younger brother if they need them. I also feel that in the absence of income supports — food stamps, unemployment insurance, Medicaid — the Great Recession would have been a repeat of the 30’s. Think about it.

  110. al-Ameda says:

    @John O:

    Parasite? Seriously? Ask my wife and kids about that. If only I could keep more of what I earn – but that’s anathema to the Democrats and their constituents.

    Oh jeez, now you bring in the wife and kids and go “queen for a day” on me?

    Actually paying for the government you want? Not a chance – that’s anathema to Republicans and their constituents.

    No matter, John, we just do not agree here.

    Have a great 4th, hope the weather allows you to really enjoy the day.

  111. anjin-san says:

    “enhancement” drugs and other such filth

    Why do conservatives so often hate sex?

  112. Jenos Idanian says:

    @al-Ameda: No, it’s not just you – those guys are so disappointed that, since 2009, America has been on a steady path of recovery from the 2008 economic catastrophe.

    Unemployment is still way up, despite the official work force shrinking in defiance of any known logic. The real estate market is still way down. And ObamaCare means more and more companies will be minimizing their costs by cutting workers, cutting hours, and slowing expansion.

    The indicators of “economic recovery” are pretty much entirely in the areas where the left usually denounces the 1% doing well while everyone else suffers — like the stock market surging and some corporations’ profits rising.

    “Steady path of recovery?” You MUST be one of those prematurely celebrating the legalization of marijuana.

  113. anjin-san says:

    The real estate market is still way down.

    Hmmm. We just looked at what our properties are worth in today’s market. It was really good news. Even the Murdoch owned WSJ has been trumpeting the real estate recovery.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-20130620-905670.html

    Unemployment is still way up

    I will re-ask a question you have ducked in the past. If you could wave a magic wand and go back to the day before Obama took office and wrecked everything (you know, the good old days of 500K a month job losses) would you?

    denounces the 1% doing well while everyone else suffers — like the stock market surging

    Have you ever heard of a 401K or an IRA? Apparently you don’t have a clue how many Americans are betting their retirement on the stock market. And it looks like you don’t remember how many non 1% types watched their investment portfolios, and their dreams, vanish like dew on a summer morning in the months before Obama took office.

    Me, I got back in the market a few days after Obama was sworn in. That has worked out pretty well 🙂

  114. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    “Steady path of recovery?” You MUST be one of those prematurely celebrating the legalization of marijuana

    I realize that you long for those heady Republican days of 2008 when the economy was shedding jobs at a rate of over 500,000 per month. Since the Great Recession we have – with the notable exception of the government sector) been adding jobs ever since – slowly and steadily. Prove me wrong.

    Also, lay off the Kool Aid

  115. Craig Davis says:

    @anjin-san: We don’t hate sex, we hate paying for yours and others’.

  116. anjin-san says:

    @ Craig Davis

    Well, just explain you me having sex has ever cost you so much as a penny, and we will be good.

    BTW, I write a pretty heft check to the IRS every year, I am thinking there is a decent chance I am helping carry you, not the other way around.

  117. al-Ameda says:

    @anjin-san:

    We don’t hate sex, we hate paying for yours and others’.

    Republicans love to have others pay for the viagra and cialis prescriptions that allow 60 year old guys to get their 23 year old girlfriends and secretaries pregnant.